Ronchin, E., Masterlark, T., Dawson, J., Saunders, S., & Molist, J. M. (2020). Imaging the complex geometry of a magma reservoir using FEM-based linear inverse modeling of InSAR data: Application to Rabaul Caldera, Papua New Guinea. Geophysical Journal International, 209(3), 1746–1760. https://doi.org/10.1093/gji/ggx119
We test an innovative inversion scheme using Green's functions from an array of pressure sources embedded in finite-element method (FEM) models to image, without assuming an a-priori geometry, the composite and complex shape of a volcano deformation source. We invert interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data to estimate the pressurization and shape of the magma reservoir of Rabaul caldera, Papua New Guinea. The results image the extended shallow magmatic system responsible for a broad and long-term subsidence of the caldera between 2007 February and 2010 December. Elastic FEM solutions are integrated into the regularized linear inversion of InSAR data of volcano surface displacements in order to obtain a 3-D image of the source of deformation. The Green's function matrix is constructed from a library of forward line-of-sight displacement solutions for a grid of cubic elementary deformation sources. Each source is sequentially generated by removing the corresponding cubic elements from a common meshed domain and simulating the injection of a fluid mass flux into the cavity, which results in a pressurization and volumetric change of the fluid-filled cavity. The use of a single mesh for the generation of all FEM models avoids the computationally expensive process of non-linear inversion and remeshing a variable geometry domain. Without assuming an a-priori source geometry other than the configuration of the 3-D grid that generates the library of Green's functions, the geodetic data dictate the geometry of the magma reservoir as a 3-D distribution of pressure (or flux of magma) within the source array. The inversion of InSAR data of Rabaul caldera shows a distribution of interconnected sources forming an amorphous, shallow magmatic system elongated under two opposite sides of the caldera. The marginal areas at the sides of the imaged magmatic system are the possible feeding reservoirs of the ongoing Tavurvur volcano eruption of andesitic products on the east side and of the past Vulcan volcano eruptions of more evolved materials on the west side. The interconnection and spatial distributions of sources correspond to the petrography of the volcanic products described in the literature and to the dynamics of the single and twin eruptions that characterize the caldera. The ability to image the complex geometry of deformation sources in both space and time can improve our ability to monitor active volcanoes, widen our understanding of the dynamics of active volcanic systems and improve the predictions of eruptions. © The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society.